The move has brought relief to thousands of immigrant families in the Silicon Valley, as Trump’s decision had left many of them heavily dependent on a single source of income. With the new regulation coming into place, the spouses of H1-B visa holders are now authorized to work.
H1-B is a category of visas given to high-skilled foreign technology workers. It’s valid for three years and can be renewed for another three years. The visa holders often arrive in the US along with their spouses and children.
Until April 2015, spouses of these visa holders could not seek “temporary” employment in the US. After years of lobbying, Barack Obama’s administration agreed to allow the spouses to work. However, it soon faced legal challenges. A group called ‘Save Jobs USA’ filed a lawsuit, arguing that the rule might threaten American jobs.
In 2018, Donald Trump revoked the rule as part of his “America First” policy, despite warnings from Silicon Valley firms that his decision could deter the high-skilled foreign nationals from staying in the US.
They went on to argue that banning spouses from working will isolate them socially, raise domestic tensions, and strain the family’s financial resources, as well as potentially impacting US employers.
Now, Biden’s order relieved both technology firms as well as Indian digital engineers, who account for almost 70% of H-1B visa holders.